Coach LaMonte takes us through the deadlift

Coach Amber and Coach Rachael teach the Push Jerk

Do you have to be in shape to do CrossFit??

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Why do we vary the workouts? Coach Rachael explains…

How to string those toes to bar together! Plus, don’t go upside down!

Muscle Up Progressions with Coach Rachael


 Coach Kristen guides us through some mobility

 How often should you workout and tips to relieve the soreness with Coach Rachael

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Ankle Mobility with Coach Amber

Get that sleep! How Sleep Deprivation can ruin your nutrition plan

The GHD Back Extension

Common hang clean faults and how to correct them

Exercise a treatment option for Alzheimer’s?

By Coach Kristen Phelps

If anyone has ever experienced life with a loved one who is battling Alzheimer’s, they know how the effects of this disease are simply heartbreaking. And although there is no cure for this disease, there is overwhelming evidence that exercise can ease some of the symptoms. Here’s how. Being physically active is important for anyone in any stage of life, but it can prove especially important for those battling cognitive impairment from diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. As long as it is safe for the patient, an elevated heart rate helps to increase overall blood flow in the body (including blood flow to the brain), helping to deliver nutrients as well as prevent secondary risk factors such as hypertension, blood sugar fluctuations, and high cholesterol.

Along with the purely physical benefits of exercising, the right type of physical activity can provide engagement on a social and emotional level as well. Group classes, one-on-one training, or even walks with a friend can help ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness. Just as it does in the general population, exercise can help improve sleep patterns as well as ease anxiety. It can provide a sense of accomplishment and self-discipline and bring encouragement to those struggling with the out-of-control feeling that this disease can sometimes initiate.

Another aspect of exercise for Alzheimer’s patients is preventing falls. Since many people are diagnosed with this later in life, they are at an even increased risk of falling – the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. (In fact, one third of adults over the age of 65 fall every year.) A trainer or coach can put together a workout routine with exercises specifically designed to reduce the individual’s risk of falling by increasing strength and stabilization through proprioceptively enriched environments. I’ve had the privilege of training clients for this very reason and the improvements that were made were nothing short of impressive and so very encouraging.

As we’ve all known for quite some time, exercise can sometimes be the best medicine for many common ailments, elevating us to a level of health that requires fewer medications, less stress, and can even extend our livelihood. Now, more than ever, exercise is being cited as a treatment for special populations, such as those battling Alzheimer’s, and gives us the opportunity to bring hope to those we love through fitness!

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GHD Sit-up Technique

Hand Care Part 2: Protect those hands!

Stuck at work? You can still get a workout in!


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To Work out with a Partner or Alone? That is the question…

By Coach Kristen Phelps

It’s a question that people have asked me several times over the last few years: “Should I work out with a friend? Or is it better to work out on my own?” And it’s one of those questions that gets an obnoxious answer: “It depends.” Just like everything else, there are positives and negatives of working out with a friend or spouse. The great thing about working out with a partner is that you have an added level of accountability. Not only do you not want to let down your trainer or coach, you want to be there for your buddy as well. Also, there is an unspoken bond between people who suffer – errrr, sweat – together through an intense workout and if you’re competitive, it may make you work even harder. If you have the right kind of relationship with your workout partner, it can bring fun and intensity to your fitness routine which in turn, will encourage you to stick with it! There could be downsides of training with a partner, however. I’ve seen sometimes, how having someone that you can talk to during your workout sessions can be distracting. And if a person is distracted, odds are, they aren’t going to be working as hard as they should be or could be. Or, you may be intimidated if you and your partner aren’t exactly on the same fitness level. Also, during a personal training session, people tend to get more out of the time spent with the trainer if it’s not split between 2 or 3 people. It’s like having a laser focused on your needs and your workout alone instead of split between you and another person. But…I firmly believe that a little bit of a distracted workout is better than no workout at all. It all comes down to you, personally. Are you the kind of person that will be encouraged and motivated by having a friend there by your side during your workout? Or are you the kind of person that might be distracted or intimidated knowing that your partner is there with you? Bottom line, you need to decide what is best for you. And before you commit to something one way or the other – try it out! Come to a class or training session by yourself. See how it goes. Invite a friend to do the same with you and again, see how it goes. Then, make a decision that works best for you! No matter what you decide, we will always do our best to help you be your best! At CrossFit West of the River we even offer personal training packages for either decision! Check out our packages HERE.


Handstand Pushup Progressions!



How to Prevent Hand Tears



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Don’t push through pain, but do push yourself


The AbMat Situp!



Nutrition Tip!


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-Kristen Phelps, WOR Endurance Coach

This is one of my favorites… “work smarter, not harder”. Let’s talk for a minute about how we can apply this to our workout routines and more specifically, our endurance training.

High Intensity Interval Training – or HIIT – is definitely a trending topic in exercise right now. But I’m guessing (and I could be wrong) that a lot of you might have questions about it and how it applies to something like running. For example…Don’t you have to run long distances to be able to run long distances? How can I run any “smarter”?  What exactly does it mean? Why is it good for me? If I’m not in the best shape, can I still do it?…

I don’t claim to be an expert in this area, but I’ve used this method for a while now with my own exercise routine and with clients and I hope to talk to you about why using it in endurance training as well can be very beneficial. I’ll also try to explain a little about the science behind why it works, in regards to your output.

Breaking it down, HIIT is exactly what the name says…it’s high intensity…and uses some form of interval training. Keeping it simple, I often refer to it in 4 parts: 1) periods of work, 2) periods of rest, 3) exercises, and 4) rounds. Here’s an example strength workout:

10s rest / 50s work; 4 exercises; 4 rounds

  • Switch Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Bicycles
  • Plank Jacks

So…you do each exercise for 50 seconds, resting only 10 seconds in between and complete the exercises in circuit form 4 times through. Make sense? Doing the math, it’s only 16 mins worth of working out (including your “rest” period), but it’s enough – if done properly and consistently – to make a difference in your fitness level.

Here’s how it might apply to running using distance and time versus an exercise and time:

  • 400m run
  • 90s rest
  • Repeated 4 times

Here’s the catch…that pesky part of the workout where you…work, or run. You. Have. To. WORK. As you know, it’s one of the most challenging things to do – push yourself to your limits each and every round, each and every rep, each and every run. It means not holding anything back for what you know is coming up. Use the work period to work. And the rest period to rest. So…no sandbagging – you’ll only end up cheating yourself. You still with me?

Don’t get caught up in the details of the rest / work periods, the exercises or the rounds. This can be formatted to meet you at your level of fitness. So what if you have to take longer rest periods or do shorter work periods at first. What’s important is that you work as hard as you can – without compromising your form – in the intended work periods. And here’s the beauty of it …as you find yourself getting in better shape, you just work harder during those work periods. You produce more. You benefit more.

As promised…for my more analytical friends, here is why it works to your advantage to incorporate this into your workout, specifically, your endurance training.  I’ll also include the fat / carb breakdown so you can apply this to the myth about the “fat-burning” zone that you may have heard about…

Let’s say a person walks 20min at 3.0mph. Their RQ (respiratory quotient; amount of CO2 expired / amount of O2 consumed) is 0.80 and they burn 4.8 cal / min (3.2 cal from fats, 1.6 cal from carbs). Total, they burn 96 calories (64 cal from fats, 32 cal from carbs).

Same person jogs for 20min at 6.0mph. Their RQ is now 0.86 and they burn 9.75 cal / min (4.48 from fats, 5.2 from carbs). Total calories burned is 195 (90 cal from fats, 104 cal from carbs). Are they burning more “fat”? Yes…but not more calories and therefore, if weight loss or calorie burning is your goal, the more effort put forth, the bigger your reward. It also means that, overall, you are training your body to product more in a shorter amount of time.

So how is this sounding? Would you rather spend 15, 20, or 30 minutes working, or running, smarter (and harder) or spend an hour just…coasting along? I don’t have time for that. And my body doesn’t like the repetitiveness of all of those miles – a topic for a different time. So let’s try this together. Interval training for endurance. Increasing our effectiveness with the distances we do run and accomplishing what we thought we couldn’t! Let’s go work hard – but also, work smart!

If you want to sign up for WOR Endurance, click HERE


What do all those words in the workout of the day mean??

WOD = Workout of the Day

AMRAP = As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible; perform the exercises as fast as possible in a set amount of time

For Time: Complete the entire workout as fast as possible

DU = double unders, jump rope with the rope passing under your feet twice for every jump

PR = Personal record, that is that awesome time when you do something you have never done before!

EMOM = Every Minute on the Minute

TABATA = 20 sec. of work, 10 sec. of rest for 8 rounds (4 minutes total)

T2B = Toes to Bar, exercise where, while hanging, you bring your feet up to touch the bar

S2OH = Shoulder to Overhead, exercise where you bring a barbell from your shoulders to an overhead position (strict press, push press, jerk)

Mobility = Movements and exercises that stretch muscles and loosen joints to assist in range of motion, proper positioning, and muscle recovery


Additional Info:

CrossFit.com = a great place to go for information about CrossFit and the community. There is a workout posted each day, videos, forums, and a ton of other resources to educate yourself on this adventure you are starting

Chipper = a For Time workout with 4 or more exercises that all have a high repetition count. The idea is to pace yourself and “chip” away at the workload.

First to finish, first to cheer = Our motto. Helping motivate your gym-mates is something that we want to see everyone participate in. If you finish a WOD and other people are still working, get over there and encourage them. They are working hard and deserve acknowledgement of that effort. Cleaning up can wait.

Scaling = Making the exercise fit your ability and skill. You can scale up or down.

Amazing protein-packed, zone-friendly Smoothie Recipe!

1/2 cup Almond milk or coconut milk
1/3 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mix fruit
3 tbls vanilla protein powder
3 tsp peanut butter
Cinnamon, flax seed
(Review milk and flax seed labels to determine the carbs and proteins of each and adjust their amounts accordingly for a block)

*replace peanut butter with almond butter to make this a paleo-friendly recipe as well!

Omega 3’s

August 17, 2016
By: Amber Behrens
Where do Omega 3’s come from and why are they important?

Omega 3 begins in the ocean with one of the basic organisms, algae. Using energy from the sun, these algae create a short and long chain fatty acids. Two long-chain forms are particularly important to  human health- DHA and EPA.

Omega 3’s are called “essential” because we need them for proper health and our bodies cannot produce them. This means we must get them through diet or supplementation.
In fact, omega-3s are essential at every stage of life.

From infancy to adolescence, omega 3s can have a powerful effect on healthy physical and mental development. Studies show that a regular intake of omega 3s significantly decrease the risk of nonfatal heart attack and stroke, and decreased the overall rate of death.

Why should you consume a regular dose of omega 3 with activity such as CrossFit? Well, omega 3 fatty acids may be both protective, so that inflammation doesn’t go up, as well as therapeutic by helping inflammation go down.

Benefits include the following:
Promote healthy eye and vision
Promote joint mobility and flexibility
Nourish skin, hair, and nails
Promote healthy immune response

What is CrossFit?

August 11, 2016

CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at a relatively high intensity”. What does that mean for you and how can we at Crossfit West of the River (WOR) help you? First off WOR is not your typical gym.  When you walk in, you’ll notice that it doesn’t contain most equipment that you are used to seeing in a fitness facility. That is because CrossFit is focused on functional movement and only uses equipment that helps you achieve functional abilities. Functional Movements are those that you will need and use in your everyday life – for example a squat is used daily by anyone sitting down or getting up from the couch. A deadlift is used when picking up your groceries or your children. By improving our form in the gym, we are able to use those same movements to improve our quality of life. We want everyone to be able to get off the couch, on their own, well into their 90’s. We want everyone to be able to run and play with their children and grandchildren. We believe that everyone should live his/her life to the fullest potential. Those of us at WOR want to help you achieve your health and fitness goals to improve your quality of life over time. We provide group classes and/or private training sessions that can be done by ALL fitness levels, ages and genders. We have members as young as 14 years old and as old as 66. The relationships formed through group classes and individual successes are hard to find in your typical gym. We  take pride in our family atmosphere. No one is a stranger and everyone feels welcomed and at ease. Our coaches  will work with each individual to accomplish his/her goals for personal success and improvement through both fitness and nutrition coaching. Bottom line: we want to help you with your fitness goals (lose weight, gain muscle, improve speed, eat right, feel better, be healthier)!